Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. USA Today said that "Parents don't believe they are doing a very good job teaching their children essential values. Across the board, from teaching kids self-discipline to basic manners, parents give themselves very low grades, according to a new study from Public Agenda, a non-profit research organization."
This is a sad thing, especially when I consider that the future is in the hands of our youth. Failing to teach them morals, scruples and ethics is failing to develop in them any sort of conscience. We cannot fail them. Their happiness, and ours, depends on their ability to relate with compassion to other beings. 
The effect of this can easily be seen in the way that our country is already struggling with a shortage of teachers, nurses and other professions that are based on giving of ones self and there's no relief in sight. How are our grandchildren going to learn when student/teacher ratios surpass 30/1? And they will, I can almost guarantee it. When the current population of "Baby Boomer" teachers start retiring faster than new teachers enter the profession, there's going to be panic. Most people, of course, will be standing on the sidelines pointing fingers while encouraging their children to take up law.
Lead by example! Anyone who has raised children knows that you can talk yourself blue in the face and still not get through to them. Remember that children learn what they live. Most people have heard of the Ten Commandments and readers of this newsletter have been exposed to the philosophy of some of the worlds great thinkers and religions. Take these thoughts and infuse your life with them.
Most kids think that stories about knights in shining armor that rescue princesses in distress are cool. Talk to your kids about how they used to live by the "Old Code" and how it was an extension of the religious ethics of the times. Compare them with the Ten Commandments of Moses and the Ten Commandments of Solon of Athens (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 1.60), which run as follows: 

1. Trust good character more than promises. 
2. Do not speak falsely. 
3. Do good things. 
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made. 
5. Learn to obey before you command. 
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful. 
7. Make reason your supreme commander. 
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things. 
9. Honor the gods. 
10. Have regard for your parents. 

The Hindu religion likewise follows precepts that the Ten Commandments merely state in a list. According to one of the sacred Hindu writings, Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad 3:2:13, "one becomes good by good action, bad by bad action." Their writings also often parallel the Ten Commandments. Compare these words taken from the Isha and Mundaka Upanishads with those in the Decalogue: "Do not covet the possessions of others"; "You must not desire... anything that belongs to your fellowman." "Keep us away from deceitful sins"; "Do not give false witness against your neighbor." "Doers of the works, learned in scriptures, absorbed in God, having faith, make offerings to the one seer"; "I am the LORD your God... you must not have any other gods against my face."
One of the core concepts of Buddhism is following the "Eight-fold Path," consisting of "right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness and right meditation." The very first three steps, known as Sila (the Precepts) are explained to the student of Buddhism by Sayagyi U Ba Khin this way, "For the first step, Sila, the student will have to maintain a minimum standard of morality by way of a promise to refrain from killing sentient beings, stealing other's property, committing sexual misconduct, telling lies and taking intoxicating drinks."
There is something in humans that pushes us to be the best that we can be. In the past it's framework has been organized religion and the teaching of these principals to their congregations. But religions today are losing membership at an unparalleled pace and the great philosophers are all but forgotten by our society.
How do we resist this tide of apathy? You start where you are; you start at home and you start with you. Like a small pebble dropped into a lake, the ripples spread out many times larger than the rock. Your effect will spread out through the lives you touch. The critical mass, ala the "Hundredth Monkey", has to start somewhere and it's going to start with you and I. Children learn what they live. Lead by example.

Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place

Here's a link the complete USA Today story:

Code of Chivalry as it appeared in TFAN:

Children Learn What They Live:

Good attempt at surmising the major religions (but it looks like a High School project):

The Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon:


After the Ark had successfully landed on Mt. Ararat, the survivors went forth. After a while, one of the wives noticed her father-in-law sitting on the ground and chewing animal hides. 

Every now and then, the father-in-law would chew a particularly hirsute hide and make a notation on a tablet.

The wife asked her husband what his father was doing, to which the son replied, "What can I say, there is Noah counting fur tastes."

Paige was with her mother while her older sister was being examined by a dentist. Paige kept herself busy playing with toys in the waiting room until she noticed that her mom was resting, her eyes closed.

With about six other patients waiting, Paige marched up to her mother, looked her straight in the face and shook her shoulder.

"Mommy," she yelled, "wake up! This is not church!"

Things I'd put on Al Queda's website if I hacked into it:

I've just converted to Judaism. It's now your duty as a loyal al-Qaida member to defend Israel from the Palestinians.

You know that big valley down by the Afghanistan/Pakistan border that there's no easy way out of? I want all of you to meet there next Friday at 5PM. Don't worry, there's no way the Americans will ever find out about this.

We've finally gotten that suicide bomber retirement fund we've been talking about. Please post your name, address, and next of kin for our records.

I have just seen a secret report from the CIA. One of our members named Muhammad has been compromised. Therefore, please terminate every member of al-Qaida you know of with that name. It's the only way we can keep our operations secure.

From now on Friday is casual day. Short-sleeve fatigues and handguns are allowed, instead of full gear and rifles.

"Personal" ad in local paper: 

David G. Contact, me soon! 
Bring three rings: Engagement, wedding, and teething. 
Have news. 

Net backbone withstands major attack
Matt Berger and Nancy Weil

The Internet withstood what appears to have been a major attack on its core infrastructure late [last] Monday when all 13 of its root servers were struck, according to a spokesman for VeriSign Inc., which operates two of the servers.

The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack started at about 5 p.m. EDT Monday and lasted about an hour, said VeriSign spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy, the largest Internet domain name registrar.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) National Infrastructure Protection Center "is aware of the matter" and is "addressing" it, said Steven Berry, a supervisory special agent with the FBI's press office.

Root servers are used by the Internet's DNS (domain name system), which takes domain names that can easily be remembered by people, such as http://www.idg.com, and converts them into the numerical IP addresses used by computers.

Four or five of the Internet's 13 root servers kept working during the attack and so Internet traffic kept moving, because the DNS is structured so that eight or more of the servers have to stop working before slowdowns occur, according to a report Tuesday evening in the online edition of the Washington Post, which was among the first to report the incident.

In fact no major outages occurred as a result of the attack, according to the Post, meaning Internet users were blissfully unaware of what had happened. Nevertheless, one source quoted in the report characterized the incident as one of the largest attacks ever against the Internet.

"This was the largest and most complex DDOS attack ever against the root server system," an anonymous source at an organization responsible for the system told the Post.

Matrix NetSystems Inc., which tracks the status of Internet traffic, said Tuesday that the DDOS actually lasted for as long as six hours and may have slowed down Web traffic and the delivery of e-mails for some users late Monday night. 

"What happened was dramatic," said Tom Ohlsson, vice president of marketing for Matrix NetSystems, which compiles reports that detail how much traffic goes through the Internet backbone at any given time. "In terms of damage, the worst is probably behind us as of (Tuesday)." 

DDOS attacks blast servers with more data than they can handle, which can cause servers to overload or crash and networks to clog with traffic. They are typically very simple to carry out, Ohlsson said.

Officials at organizations that operate the Internet backbone told the Post that they do not know yet who is responsible for the attack or if it suggests that a more serious attack is likely to come.

Matrix NetSystems traced the attacks to a number of U.S. Internet hosting service providers, as well as one in Europe, which likely acted as "unwitting hosts" to the perpetrators, Ohlsson said. He said the attack could have originated anywhere.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet service Tuesday said it had not noticed any slowdown in traffic.

VeriSign said its two root servers kept working during the incident. "VeriSign expects that these sort of attacks will happen, and VeriSign was prepared," O'Shaughnessy said.

Other root server operators include NASA Ames Research Center, the U.S. Army Research Lab, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the Internet Software Consortium. 

Yahoo users hit with e-mail scam

Users of Yahoo Inc.'s paid services were targeted by scam artists trying to gain access to their personal information, including credit card numbers. In a statement e-mailed to Computerworld today, a spokeswoman for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet portal said that an individual or individuals posing as part of Yahoo had sent e-mails to users in an effort to trick them into disclosing their online account information. 

The spokeswoman said Yahoo "takes all reports of fraud by third parties very seriously" and has alerted its users to the scam. 

Although the spokeswoman couldn't provide further details, according to published reports, less than 24 hours elapsed between the time the bogus e-mail was sent and the time Yahoo sent out its own mass e-mail to its users yesterday morning advising them not to respond to the phony request. 

It wasn't immediately clear what the fraudulent e-mail to customers said. 

A Yahoo spokeswoman said yesterday that some users fell for the request and divulged their credit card numbers, although most did not. 

Yahoo also said it didn't know the origin of the fraudulent e-mail. 

Last month, online payment service PayPal Inc. was also targeted by scam artists trying to get the personal information of its users. However, unlike Yahoo, PayPal didn't notify its customers of the scam. 

Journalist Cronkite Warns Against Potential War 
By Christopher Ferrell

Walter Cronkite, the veteran newsman who covered almost every major world event that took place during his six-decade career, on Sunday warned that if the United States takes action against Iraq without support from the United Nations it could set the stage for World War III. 

"The threat from the White House is to go in anyway," Cronkite said. "Our only ally would probably be Great Britain. That is not good enough. I see the possibility if we do that of really setting forth World War III." 

Cronkite spoke at Texas A&M University’s Rudder Auditorium on Sunday afternoon as part of the Wiley Lecture Series. Donnis Baggett, editor and publisher of The Bryan-College Station Eagle, interviewed Cronkite, asking him about his views on issues including America’s war on terrorism, the U.S. economy and the perception of the media’s liberal bias. 

Cronkite said he believes the best way to handle the situation with Iraq would be through a two-stage resolution adopted by the United Nations. It should first call for weapons inspections and then an invasion if inspectors are not allowed or they meet interference. Such a strategy could help the United States gain other allies, especially Russia and France, he said. 

"The legitimacy of our actions would be endorsed through the United Nations," Cronkite said. 

If the United States goes in without worldwide support, however, other countries in the region such as Iran and Pakistan could retaliate against the U.S., Cronkite said. He said the threat of nuclear exchanges between India and Pakistan could be increased if a conflict arises. 

[there were many writers covering this, but my favorite is:]

Committed to Honesty
by Rosemary Place
New York, USA

A few years ago, my family and I were driving home from our vacation in Florida to our home in upstate New York. At about 9 p.m. after driving all day, we stopped at a Wendy's restaurant in South Carolina. We were already exhausted from driving, but still had a long way to go before we reached the hotel in Virginia where we had reservations for the night.

We ate, left, and continued driving. After about an hour and a half, when we had just crossed into Virginia, we realized that my husband left his belt pack at the restaurant. I had only about $20 left in my wallet; my husband had the rest of our money and traveler's checks (about $1000) in his belt pack.

Even worse, the remote for his spinal cord stimulator was in the pack, and he needed it to manage his back pain. I had no idea how many thousands of dollars it would cost to replace.

Without much hope, we turned around and drove back to South Carolina. I never really expected to get our money or traveler's checks back, but I hoped we could get back the remote for my husband's stimulator. As I was driving, and contemplating either divorcing or killing my husband, my mind raced with all of the hassles of trying to cancel credit cards and figure out how we were going to get home on only $20.

We watched all the exit signs on I-95 for one that included a Wendy's. The first one we tried was the wrong restaurant. So was the second. After a few more exits and three hours of driving, we finally found the right Wendy's.

The restaurant had already closed for the night but the crew, which consisted mostly of teenagers, was still inside cleaning up. We knocked on the door and explained our situation, and they let us in.

They had the belt pack! One of the teenaged workers had found it and turned it in to the night manager. She had inventoried the contents and locked it in the safe. All of our money, traveler's checks, and credit cards -- and my husband's remote -- were still inside. Words could not express our relief.

It would have been so easy for anyone who found it to take the money; luckily for us, the teenager who found it was honest. That night, my faith in young people was renewed.

Julie in Ohio: "In the story 'Committed to Honesty', the author's surprise at getting all of the contents of the pack returned reminds me of how people react at my job when we return items people have lost. I work at a movie theater and people lose all kinds of things while sitting in the movie. Every time one of my co-workers or I find a wallet, purse, or jewelry, etc., we turn it in to a manager to place in Lost and Found. It is so funny how surprised and happy people are when they come back for their stuff and find everything there. Where I work, everyone is very honest and trustworthy, and most of my co-workers are teenagers. There are people of all ages who would take things they find and not give it a second thought. I am proud to be able to say that I work in a place where that doesn't happen."

Bart in Australia: "I am constantly humbled by the honesty of my fellow man. At age 30, I have a very bad problem memory, and constantly leave purchased items in stores -- and realize half an hour later what I have done. Over 90% of the time, the retailer has put it away and I am able to recover the goods. This is an amazing re-affirmation of the goodness of people that happens to me about once a week."

Fall Down Go Boom!

Although participating on "implosion" projects has always been interesting work, in the early years, the photographic aspect was seen as little more than a challenging diversion from the more technical responsibilities of vibration monitoring and inspecting adjacent structures prior to a blast.

As Protec grew, the company continued to expand its reputation as an international leader in the fields of vibration prediction, monitoring, structure inspections, and perhaps equally as important, capturing the types of images that clearly illustrated how precise and dependable this form of demolition could be.

Love seeing buildings collapse? Here are the professional demo-guys


Digital Focus: Create Eye-Catching Color Effects
Dave Johnson

Spice up your photos and make them distinctive.

Feature: Enhance Your Photos With Eye-Catching Color Effects
Pictures of sunsets, kids on horseback, and sunflowers are a dime a dozen. That's not to say your puppy in the lilacs isn't the coolest photo ever stored on a Memory Stick, but face it: The odds are good your friends have seen it all before. So how can you spice up your photos and make them look truly distinctive? There are a lot of cool digital tricks you can play, but some of the easiest to do and most visually remarkable involve simple color changes.

There are all sorts of color changes you can try on your photos. You can convert them to black and white, for instance, or try your hand at a nice sepia tone. Many digital cameras let you do this before the pictures even make it to the PC; if yours doesn't, a good image processor like Paint Shop Pro or Adobe PhotoShop Elements has the tools you need. Let's give it a shot. 


Four Year Old Girl Abducted in Retail Store, Hair Shaved, and Clothes Removed In A Matter of Minutes

Summary of Rumor
The writer of this email says she was standing near a mother and 4 year old girl at a Sam's Club store when the girl suddenly disappeared. Other versions say this happened at Mervyns's Carrefour's. The writer asked one of the employees to announce the missing girl over the public address system. She says he announced a "code something," locked all the doors, and within five minutes found the girl in a bathroom with her head shaved, most of her clothes removed, a bag of different clothes nearby along with a razor and a wig. Somebody was trying to disguise and kidnap the girl. The writer says that the "code" announcement was a "Code Adam" alert, named after Adam Walsh, a boy kidnapped in a department store and killed and whose father went on to create the "America's Most Wanted" television show. 

The Truth
This particular story of the four year old found in the bathroom is fiction, but the fact that children are abducted is not fiction. According to National Center for Missing And Exploited Children, it happens more than 100,000 times each year. Also, the "CODE ADAM" procedure for retail stores to respond to a missing child is not fiction. It is being used by companies nationwide in North America including more than 2,500 Wal-marts and Sam's Clubs. Wal-mart says it pioneered the CODE ADAM idea and named it after Adam Walsh, a six-year old who was taken from a Florida mall in 1981 and was killed. His father, John Walsh, went on to become the host of the "America's Most Wanted" show. 

Store employees do not lock the doors during a CODE ADAM, but they do have procedures for spreading the word among employees about any possible missing child including a description of the child. They also have employees at the doors watching for anything suspicious and making sure that any children who are leaving the store are accompanied by the rightful adult. If they can't find the child within 10 minutes, the police are called. If they do find the child with anyone other than a parent or legal guardian, they call the police to sift out the facts. 



Be concerned more with how you live than with how long.